Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ski mask policy

While explaining to the public about our beloved ham radio hobby, people used to ask us very interesting questions. One of them is, "what is the different between chatting with people on the radio and chatting with people on the internet?". There are many answers to this simple question. In fact some people can write a book or get a PhD by researching for the answers, I am exaggerating. Hi Hi.

Seriously, one "direct" answer I would give is that we hams are all "licensed". In contrary, as in the famous New Yorker cartoon, "on the internet, no one knows that you are a dog". Everything in this world has both pros and cons, Yin and Yang, etc. It depends on your paradigm looking at things. First of all, ham radio is definitely a very good hobby for kids to pick up. There are tons of learnings in it, be it technical or procedural. As parents, you can be sure your kids are not talking to paedophiles in private (as in ICQ, or other chat software). This is because the airwaves are monitored by many hams, SWLs, and the tuck shop. We knew that on air, no one should talk about business, sex, politics, religion, race, and any other sensitive issues.

On the other hand, the cyberspace remains the last frontier where you have the freedom of speech. Due to cultural differences, some people could not differentiate between freedom of speech and harassment. An American gave me an example on freedom speech. He said he can stand in front of the White House and burn the Star Spangled Banner, and no one can touch him. Sharing your religious belief with a co-worker could land you in a workplace harassment lawsuit. So, the idea is there should be no intrusion of privacy. Well, this is a bit off topic.

Coming back to the point, the cyberspace is now the only place where you can speak your mind, pen your thoughts, and share your ideas. Some people made a Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace, but it is constantly under threat from those who are actually weak and afraid of the masses. These people can always accuse you of anything from inciting racial hatred to sodomy. Therefore, I am pretty sure you know that on the internet, you have to adopt some form of "ski mask policy". It is all about ideas not an identifiable person. Again, here are my two cents about maintaining anonymity on the internet.

73.

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